Malam Sa’adu Abubakar, a resident of Bakin Iku village in Suleja area of Niger State, returned home from his shop around 11 pm on Saturday, July 8, with no premonition of lurking disaster. But by the next morning, eight members of the 37-year-old Zamfara indigene’s immediate family had been swept away by flood.
Narrating his ordeal, he said, “It was unusual to get back home around that time and still meet my entire family awake and expecting me. We chatted and went to bed only for the rain to start around 1am. Then the rain turned into downpour and before we knew it, flood had taken over all the five rooms in the house.
“The water carried two of my children who held unto my dress but the force of the water snatched them from me and swept them away.”
Abubakar, who was unable to hold back tears, equally narrated how his two wives and other children were also swept away by the flood.
Malam Abubakar’s experience is a sad reminder of the dangers posed by flood during the rainy season which is expected to last till October.
If the example related above makes the menace look confined to poor surroundings, the historic rainfall and resulting floods that paralyzed the posh Victoria Island, Lekki and VGC areas of Lagos early July should quickly dispel this.
Flooding can occur anywhere – inland, along the coast, and across every region of the country. Even though a community has little or no risk of flooding, the reality is that anywhere it rains, there can be flooding.
The reasons for flooding are, of course, not farfetched. Many have blamed house owners for cutting corners and building without proper planning and drainage layout. While many blame the government for lack of proper urban planning and corruption which makes house owners do what they please.
Nevertheless, the risk of flooding isn’t based only on a community’s history, but on a variety of factors like rainfall, topography, river-flow and tidal-surge data, and changes resulting from new construction in the community. These all play a part in what actual flood risks a community faces.
During the earlier mentioned flood debacle in Lekki, Victoria and VGC, many homes and streets were flooded. Many drivers also became trapped in their vehicles after driving into flood waters and rumors were rife of some vehicles being swept away. As the problem is not exactly new, and nothing concrete has been done to address the situation, a recurrence is not unlikely.
To avoid being a victim in such situation, there are tools that can help drivers.
Safety tips if your car is caught in a flood
- If your car suddenly becomes submerged, stay calm and turn on your headlights and hazard lights to make it easier for emergency personnel to see you.
- Unbuckle your seat belt and unlock your doors and take jackets and outer clothing off.
- Exit through the open windows, swimming to safety and call emergency number. in the direction of the current if you’re in deep water.
- Do not use your energy trying to open the doors because water pressure will keep them from budging.
- Do not try to break windows to get out. If water pressure has not equalized, glass will explode inward toward you or other occupants.
- Once out, do not stay with your car. Get to high ground.
- Do not stand on the roof of your car. If your car is swept away, you’ll be carried away with it. You could also fall and injure yourself if the car shifts abruptly.
- Do not return to your car if you think the water level is going down. Water levels could rise without warning. Allow emergency personnel to tow your vehicle to a safe place.